The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“To trace the genesis of the movement, which came into activity some 250 years ago (our rituals and ceremonies having been compiled round about the year 1700), is beyond the purpose of my present remarks. It may merely be stated that the movement itself incorporated the slender ritual and the elementary symbolism that, for centuries previously had been employed in connection with the mediaeval Building Guilds, but it gave to them a far fuller meaning and a far wider scope.” [via]